2014 French Long Course National Championships
- Dates: Tuesday, April 8 – Sunday, April 13, 2014; prelims 9:00 am, semis/ finals 5:00 pm
- Location: Chartres, France (GMT +1, or 6 hours ahead of N.Y., 9 ahead of L.A.)
- Results: Available Here
- Televised: Eurosport France
- Championship Central
Day Five: Saturday, April 12 – Finals Contested:
Women’s 50 free: In a final that wasn’t really any faster than the morning prelims, Anna Santamans of Nice was crowned French national champion in 25.01. She was faster than when she won a year ago but .20 off her seed time. Second place went to her teammate from Nice, Camille Muffat. Showing her versatility by competing in sprint fly and free in this meet, the mid-distance specialist went a personal best 25.41 in prelims. She finished with 25.52 in finals, just fast enough to qualify for Euros (25.54 cutoff). Anouchka Martin of Saint-Dizier was third in 25.65, dropping .32 from her seed time but just missing the Berlin qualifying time.
Women’s 1500 free: The top four seeds all came to Chartres with sub-Euro times (qualifying standard = 16:42.76) so it looked like a women’s event that would put all four possible on the roster (there haven’t been all that many so far). As it turns out, they just squeezed in.
Although the podium didn’t include any big surprises, it wasn’t a particularly fast final. Dijon’s Morgane Rothon won in 16:32.84, her best time by 1.2 seconds. Coralie Codevelle of Sarcelles was second in 16:39.36, just off her seed time. Aurélie Muller of Sarreguemines and Julie Berthier of Mulhouse both made it in just before the clock struck midnight. Muller, who had been second seed, took third in 16:41.22, a five-second add. Berthier went .05 faster than her seed time, finishing fourth in 16:41.88.
Women’s 200 fly: Lara Grangeon of Calédoniens, who has already qualified for Berlin in the 200 and 400 IMs, added another qualification to her list winning in 2:11.57. Second place went to Marie Wattel of Nice, whose 2:12.86 broke the national age group record for 17-and-under girls. She had previously set the mark (2:13.27) as a sixteen-year-old at last year’s championships. Barbora Zavadova (Czech Republic) rounded out the podium in 2:13.45.
Women’s 200 free: France’s most successful talent on the international level, Camille Muffat of Nice, bounced back after her 50 free final to win with a respectable 1:57.05. With the exception of the 50 fly, this is the most depth the French women have shown in an event: the top six finishers all beat the Berlin qualifying time of 2:00.58. This is good news for their 4×200 relay in Berlin. (N.B. The French won bronze in the 800 free relay at both the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships.)
Second place went to Nice’s Charlotte Bonnet (1:58.00); third was Coralie Balmy of Mulhouse (1:59.48); fourth, Cloé Hache of Nice (1:59.76).
Men’s 400 IM: Hungary’s David Verraszto completed a Verraszto family sweep of the medley events. He won the 400 in 4:14.91, just a bit off his seed time but 1.8 better than in prelims. Quentin Coton of Antibes dropped 1.3 and came in second in 4:20.94. He was the only French qualifier for Berlin (standard = 4:21.34). Théo Fuchs of Amiens had a huge final but came up short of the Euros cut with his 4:26.55 third-place finish.
Cannes’s Tanguy Lesparre rewrote the history books once again, this time breaking Théo Berry’s 4:34.00 400 IM record for 15-and-under boys from 2012. He went 4:33.93 to take second in the boys’ 14-16 year category.
Men’s 100 free: And then suddenly it was time for the Big Event. The French men’s 100 free is loaded with talent, which one might be able to guess from the success their 4×100 free relay has had on the international scene (gold at 2012 Olympic Games and 2013 World Championships, beating the US in both instances).
Florent Manaudou of Marseille was in the middle lane, having gone 49.01 in semis to Yannick Agnel’s 49.25 and Mehdy Metella’s 49.27. In finals, Manaudou shot out immediately. He turned at 22.97, the only one in the field under 23. Coming home in 25.7 he was able to hold off a charging Metella, taking first in 48.69. Marseille’s Metella and Fabien Gilot were right behind their teammate, taking second and third in 48.72 and 48.73, respectively. Metella split it very differently from his teammates: he was out in 23.72 and back in 25.0. Gilot went 23.03/25.7. Grégory Mallet, also of Marseille, was fourth, qualifying for Berlin in 49.34. Marseille’s Clément Mignon was fifth with 49.44, while Agnel touched in 49.52 for sixth.
It was a spectacular final and lived up to its hype. Apparently sprint freestyle is alive and well in Marseille, France. Marseille’s coach and manager, Romain Barnier, was selected as the French national team head coach in February, 2013. His contract was extended through the 2016 Olympic Games last October.
Day Five: Saturday, April 12 – Semi-Finals Contested:
Men’s 100 fly: Defending champion Jérémy Stravius of Amiens led the semis with 53.54. The next fastest finals qualifiers were 200 fly gold medalist Jordan Coelho of Etampes (53.67) and Mehdy Metella of Marseille (53.79). (Berlin = 53.52)
Men’s 200 back: Fresh from NCAAs, Eric Ress put up a 2:00.07 to lead the field in the semi-finals of the 200 back. Benjamin Stasiulis of Marseille was the second-fastest in 2:01.80; Florian Joly of Toulouse was third (2:02.69). (Berlin = 2:00.58)
Women’s 200 breast: The top three semi-finalists were Fanny Deberghes of Montpellier in 2:31.76; defending champion and 50 breast gold medalist, Montauban’s Coralie Dobral, was second with 2:32.17; Fantine Lesaffre of Mulhouse, third with 2:32.35. (Berlin = 2:30.50)